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MLS players express worry over return plan safety

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community news, MLS players express worry over return plan safety

ATLANTA (AP) — The first day of small group training for Atlanta United and three other MLS teams was accompanied by ongoing worries from veteran defender Jeff Larentowicz about plans for a MLS tournament in Florida.

The first-day participation was voluntary and there was no contact as social distancing continued to protect players during the coronavirus pandemic.

That soon will change. Major League Soccer on Thursday said teams may resume training.

MLS announced that each player and staff member must complete two tests for the coronavirus 24 hours apart, 72 hours ahead of the start of training. Every player also must have a test for antibodies and a physical.

MLS announced other protocols for continued testing and restrictions, including spacing for locker rooms and limits on the number of players in training rooms and gyms.

As he looked ahead to the planned tournament in Orlando next month for all 26 teams, Larentowicz said he was nervous about the potential dangers.

“I can tell you they’re taking 2,000 people’s lives into their hands and they better have it sorted,” Larentowicz said in a Zoom interview before MLS announced plans to open training. “So it’s on them. We are soccer players and we want to play and it’s their job now to keep us safe.”

Nashville SC defender Daniel Lovitz said uncertainty about the Orlando plans has added to players’ safety concerns. Matches are to be played without fans at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports Complex at Disney World.

The tournament is an attempt to revive a season which was stopped on March 12 after only two matches had been played by each team.

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